The East End connection

Jacob MIDDLEBROOK was my great-great-grandfather.  He was born on 30th July 1829 and baptised at St Matthew, Bethnal Green, on 30th August 1829.  He married Sarah POWELL on 4th March 1850 at St Mary Spital, Whitechapel.  They spent all their lives in the East End of London where Jacob was a (market) porter.  By his 60s he was a labourer in the docks.  He died in 1902 having been preceded by Sarah just two years earlier.  Both of them died at the Stepney Workhouse of slightly unusual causes:

Jacob - "Sudden. Chronic bronchitis accelerated by self neglect. Natural."

Sarah - "Violent syncope (loss of consciousness) due to blood poisoning arising from a scald on the foot caused by boiling tea falling upon it. Accidental."

This is Jacob & Sarah MIDDLEBROOK’s family:

James was baptised on 19th May 1850 at Spitalfields Christ Church, Stepney.  He died just over a year later.
Jacob was baptised on 22nd February 1852 at Spitalfields Christ Church, Stepney.   He married Susan CZAYKOWSKI on 25th December 1872 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.  Susan’s father, Thomas CZAYKOWSKI, was a Polish immigrant who worked in the sugar industry.   Jacob & Susan had at least 11 children over the next 23 years. They spent all their lives in the East End of London. Susan outlived Jacob by 5 years.

Jacob was a carman (ie he drove a horse-drawn vehicle). 
Elizabeth was my great-grandmother.  She was born on 2nd January 1855 at Whitechapel.  She married Charles STEWART on 22nd January 1877 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.  Charles was described as a greengrocer (wishful thinking?) on his marriage certificate.   Later descriptions of costermonger (a street seller of fruit & vegetables) and hawker are probably more accurate.  However by 1891 he was a labourer. I do not know what happened to him after that although he might be the Charles STEWART who died at Poplar in 1918.

They had at least 5 children by 1891.  Charles STEWART (born 1878) was their first child.  In the 1881 & 1891 censuses he was living with his grandparents Jacob & Sarah MIDDLEBROOK.   In 1901 he was still with Jacob as Sarah had died.  Being there for all three censuses is unusual.  Did Jacob & Sarah bring him up?  There may have been problems in the STEWART family as Elizabeth spent two periods at the Colney Hatch Mental Hospital.  The first was from 1897-1904 and the second from 1910 until her death there in 1925.   She was diagnosed with Delusional Insanity as a result of alcohol.

Their only daughter, Sarah Ann (born 1883), made her way to Brighton where she married my Grandfather, George PLANK, in 1907.  It is not known what happened to Sarah’s brothers but at least one, Richard, joined the Army.  At the time of the 1901 census she was in the Stepney Union Workhouse.  Presumably this was because her mother was in the Colney Hatch Asylum.
George was baptised on 12th July 1857 at Spitalfields Christ Church, Stepney.  He was a porter when he married Bethsheba BACON on 22nd October 1877 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.  Bethsheba was the daughter of an agricultural labourer and had been born at Great Dunmow in Essex.  She was still at home at the time of the 1871 census so must have left rural Essex for London’s East End in the years prior to her marriage at the age of 20.

By 1901 they had had at least 7 children.  At this time George was a brewer’s drayman (he delivered beer by means of a horse-drawn wagon, a dray).  George died at Poplar at the age of 52.  Bethsheba outlived him by 30 years and died at Poplar in 1940 aged 83.
Thomas was born at Spitalfields in 1860.  He married Hannah PERRIS on 7th June 1886 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.
By 1901 they had had at least 6 children.  Thomas was a labourer.
Sarah was born at Whitechapel in 1862.  She married Robert Henry CANNON, a widower ten years older than her, on 16th January 1882 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.  Robert was a labourer.  There was at least one child, Elizabeth, from his first marriage but I am not aware of any children from this marriage.

Both of them died before 1900.  Robert died in 1895 of phthisis (TB).  He was 39.  Sarah followed him 16 months later during childbirth.  So who was the child's father?  She died at the home of her brother-in-law, James CANNON, who was the Informant of her death.
Henrietta was born at Whitechapel on 3rd September 1864.  She married James CANNON, a dock labourer, on 21st November 1881 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green.  She was 17 and James 18.  They had at least 3 children by 1891 but what happened to them after that?

There is no immediately obvious relationship between this James CANNON and Sarah’s husband, Robert Henry CANNON.  They had different fathers (according to their marriage certificates) and it is a relatively common name.